This is an ongoing conflict for more than 30 years in the region of Akamas, the southwestern part of Cyprus. This is a highly important region for biodiversity and turtle nesting and has been declared a Natura 2000 area.
In the beginning of 1990s, local environmentalists and Greenpeace Mediterranean have been struggling for the Akamas peninsula to become a national park , and at that time, quarrying at Androlykou Gorges within Akamas region already created an important conflict since it led to big ecological destruction including one of the caves which was home of the rosette fruit bat (the most northerly living among all fruit bats in the world) .
In 1997, local environmentalists protested against the British Forces in Cyprus as they started military exercises on the environmentally fragile Akamas peninsula, in the western tip of the island .
Currently, the members of the Save Akamas Initiative  see this struggle as a clear issue of environmental and social justice . The conflict and 30-year struggle to save Akamas once again increased in intensity after 2015 since “using as a pretext the economic crisis, the Government was setting off on a journey to appropriate and exploit our natural commons: marinas, golf courses, quarries, large-scale developments with multiple uses and private camping sites were all included in this endeavor” .
On the 12th of December 2015, Ministers and some of Cyprus’ most ruthless bussinessmen ‘played Akamas on roulette (kazantin)’ according to activists’ own words since they were planning to give green light to construction in part of the Akamas area . These decisions led to a high level of opposition the same month and the protest outside the Presidential Palace on the 23rd of December 2015 created enough pressure for the Minister of Agriculture, Rural Development and the Environment to have to explain the Government’s plans at the House of Parliament on the 8th of January, 2016 .
On January 2016, the Ministerial Council issued a Decision, according to which private property would be excluded from the Akamas National Park, a new Local Spatial Plan would be prepared and all the previous Ministerial Decisions related to Akamas would be revised. However, the Government did not change its mind and the Ministerial Council went on to take the decision on the 11th of January 2016. The movement were outside the Presidential Palace on the same day, to remind all Ministers that they hold all off them accountable for this decision. On the 21st of January, the initiative members were outside the Forestry Department, whilst a discussion was going on for the limits of the Akamas National Forest Park, and in order to remind the authorities that the protected area of the Akamas has been shrinking since the 2000s and to reduce its area more would put the effectiveness of the reserve in danger .
On the 22nd of January 2016, the Save Akamas Initiative visited the Environment Department. It was hosting a meeting of the Environmental Impact Assessment Committee, and discussing the licensing of a camping place within the Akamas Natura 2000 area adjacent to the Baths of Aphrodite archaeological site. Activists claim that the approval of this development would go against the suggestion for the banning of overnight stays within the Natura 2000 area, something which is considered to be to the benefit of the surrounding communities. If the camping site would be allowed, activists warn that it could be the beginning for the materialisation of many more developments .
Actions to raise awareness and put pressure around the protection of the Akamas Peninsula included performances, concerts, and interventions for the yearly Carnival Parades in Nicosia and Limassol . The campaign peaked with the one day festival ‘Singing for Akamas’ organised by the ‘Cyprus Natural Coastline’ initiative, ‘Limassol Initiative for Akamas’ and ‘Save Akamas/ Save Cyprus’ and supported by the Ecological Movement Cyprus, Birdlife Cyprus, Friends of Akamas, Utopia Collectiva, Collective Seed Cyprus on Sunday 27 March 2016. The event took place at the amphitheatre of Molos (Limassol), between 12:00 – 22:00 with 14 local bands and DJs participating. Around 5000 people attended the event who managed to unite their voices and demand the protection of the Akamas peninsula. Moreover, one of the groups that participated in the event, Monsieur Doumani, wrote and composed a song dedicated to Akamas .
Recently, the last carnival participation on 11th of Februry 2018 brought a high level of attention to the conflict, and the initiative won a prize for their performance [3, 6]. It was followed by another big protest on 28th of February in front of the parliament. The struggle to Save Akamas continues and they send a clear message to the government and projects of construction: “Hands off Akamas!"